When You Join the Teapot Tempest, You Know Your Bloggy Groove Is Returning
Not that I have time, really. But I suddenly wonder if I’m not just doing what Ilyka Damen does:
This blog is small. And something I’ve realized over the past couple of weeks is that I unconsciously work to keep it small. I do this in one way I can’t help and in one way that I can. The way I can’t help is, I’m not very good at this. The way I can help is, when my traffic levels get beyond my comfort zone–and that zone is tiny, I mean under 100 visitors a day if you strip out the search engines, because I basically relate to other human beings from a position of terror*–I stop posting. I tell myself I don’t have anything to say, even though I usually have TONS of things I’d like to post about at the time, and I just fuck off for a week or two or, as has been rather acidly observed by readers in the past, months.
Human psychology is some crazy shit. Anyway, the way I can tell that the bloggy groove is coming back to me is that I’ve a sudden impulse to weigh in on the latest rendition of Frilly Feminists vs. Hairy-Legged Dogmatists. Not that I have any special insights on the social implications of mascara (though, for the record, my personal grooming practices have largely been determined by my early acceptance of a forced choice between intelligence and femminess), I just wonder why so many people insist that they are not and will never be role models.
I dislike Molly’s distinction between feminists who are role models, and feminists who are not, because the reality is that I osmose social cues from anyone I happen to admire, whether or not they hold themselves out as role models or occupy a position most people would recognize as that of “role model material”. Since this process is largely opaque to me I am certainly not in a position to honor my models’ feelings on the matter. Denying that one is a potential role model does about as much good as denying the existence of global warming.
But I’ve never quite gotten my head around the idea of role models. In elementary school, when we had to pick someone who was our role model and write about them, I could never think of anyone, because I didn’t consciously pattern my actions after anyone else in particular and wasn’t especially interested in doing so. What extra obligations do role models incur?
I try to be a decent human being. I extend the Golden Rule to my own role in forming culture: I contribute to culture as I would have others contribute, I enforce the social norms that I would have others enforce on me, etc. And I’m comfortable with the idea that this is a moral obligation. Knowing that I am a potential role model is mildly irritating, inasmuch as it reminds me that despite my imperfections I am obligated to be as decent a human being as possible and watch my smack-talkin’ mouth, but attempting to avoid such reminders just smells like ducking out on my responsibilities.
Inasmuch as the concept of “role model” is associated with the maintenance of stupid social norms, like the virgin-whore dichotomy or not using the word “fuck”, then I can see why people might want to avoid it… but that’s not what we’re talking about here. So tell me, non-role-models, what’s the problem?